Yankees reliever Tommy Kahnle to miss opening day due to shoulder injury

Tommy Kahnle, player of the New York Yankees
Esteban Quiñones
Wednesday March 6, 2024

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As the uncertainty looms over Tommy Kahnle’s availability for Opening Day. Kahnle, a pivotal right-handed pitcher for the Yankees, disclosed on Wednesday that his readiness for the season opener is in question. As the countdown to Opening Day progresses, the New York Yankees find themselves grappling with a slew of injuries that threaten the dynamics of their lineup.

Tommy Kahnle’s injury clouds Yankees’ opening day plans

Tommy Kahnle, player of the new york yankees
Game Five / Elsa

Tommy Kahnle pinpointed offseason shoulder inflammation as the primary setback, noting a delayed recovery process despite his recent pain-free bullpen session. Nonetheless, Kahnle has yet to partake in live batting practice or make an appearance in a Grapefruit League game. Last season, Kahnle showcased his bullpen prowess, boasting impressive stats—a 2.66 ERA and 1.10 WHIP across 42 appearances—before succumbing to injury.

His acknowledgment of lagging behind other relievers and the potential exclusion from the Opening Day roster due to his prolonged recovery could significantly alter the Yankees‘ bullpen dynamics. Manager Aaron Boone disclosed on March 5 that Tommy Kahnle is “a little behind” in his spring preparations. Although Kahnle is actively participating in bullpen sessions, he may not see game action until the end of the month, raising doubts about his availability for the season opener. This status update was initially reported by Greg Joyce of the New York Post.

What happened with Tommy Kahnle?

Tommy Kahnle, player of the new york yankees
Tim Warner

During the final week of the 2023 season, Kahnle was sidelined due to shoulder inflammation. Despite his injury history, Kahnle delivered a noteworthy performance last season, making 42 appearances—his most significant workload since 2019—after featuring in only 14 games from 2020 to 2022. Despite a delayed start due to bicep tendinitis, Kahnle emerged as one of the Yankees’ most effective relievers, maintaining a 2.66 ERA and not conceding a run in his first 16 appearances. He pitched 40.2 innings and struck out 48 batters.

While Kahnle’s recovery from the shoulder issue progresses slower than anticipated, Boone remains optimistic about his availability for Opening Day. However, the Yankees are considering managing his workload more cautiously, as reported by Jorge Castillo of ESPN. Boone stated, “I think he’ll be ready, but it’s a matter of do we want him to have more games under his belt? That’s what we’re kind of deciding.”

The Yankees are scheduled to commence the season on Thursday, March 28, on the road against the Houston Astros. In the event Kahnle isn’t available by then, the team will need to explore alternative options for a high-leverage reliever to support closer Clay Holmes.

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